This went well, and we have played it a couple of times with four people, but it is better suited to larger groups. First, here is how you play in a large group:
Based on drawing a random card from the pack, one person is given the role of ‘murderer’. The whole family sits in a circle. Everyone then conducts a conversation about any generic subject. We usually choose something like ‘school’ or a favourite TV show. Then everyone has to burble away about this whilst looking from player to player as they speak.
The murderer then has to surreptitiously kill each player by winking at them. The deaths can be slightly delayed and overacted as much as required. So in this way it is similar to Plague.
The idea is after one or two people have been killed, people are allowed to guess who is the murderer. If they get it wrong, they must sit out the game. But this does not work well with small numbers of players.
If you are the murderer it is a good idea to have a great deal of conversation before you kill anyone so as to put people off the scent. The problem we have is that four players makes it impossible not to guess pretty quickly who the murderer is.
Still it is fairly fun activity even when no guessing is factored into the game-it doesn’t really work to make accusations with so few people. We did try and play this so the murderer had to kill one person before an accusation is made, and then kill everyone off in quick succession before anyone can get the accusation out. As there are only two players left alive at this point it is not actually as hard as it sounds. We play a few rounds to give everyone a likely shot at being the murderer.
I have heard a variation of this game which we have never played, but should be fun if in a fairly large group. Here one player can have the role of detective , whilst one is given the role of murderer. The detective is the only person who can accuse.
Another variation, is that using three ‘murder weapons’ the assassin must try to murder everyone using the three murder weapons in sequence, for example, a smile, a scratch of the head and rubbing of hands. For each of the murder weapons one of the group is assassinated. This makes it more challenging for the person guessing and also increases the concentration of the group as they have more signs to look out for.
This game is not as easy as it sounds but can be fun especially if done in conjunction with chat.